What is Job Seeker's Allowance? 

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) is a benefit for people over 18 who are unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week and who are seeking work.

Some 16 and 17 year olds can also apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

We've compiled some useful answers to come of your frequently asked questions around Jobseeker's Allowance.

Click on the questions below to reveal the answers.

Who can get Jobseeker's Allowance?

To receive Jobseeker's Allowance you must:

  • be available for work
  • be actively seeking work
  • have entered into a claimant commitment - this is an agreement between you and the Jobcentre.

How do I apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance?

You can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance online, or by phoning Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.

In some areas of the country you might have to apply for Universal Credit instead.

See our frequently asked questions guide to Universal Credit. 

I have been turned down for Job Seeker's Allowance, how do I challenge a decision?

If you want to challenge a decision about your Jobseeker’s Allowance, you must ask the Department of Work and Pensions to look at their decision again. This is called a mandatory reconsideration. You must do this within a month of the letter that told you about the decision. If they do not change their decision, then you can appeal.

A Tribunal will decide whether to change the decision. More information is available from the government website.

Try to get an advisor to help you with your appeal. You can find advisors in your local area.

Useful resources

We've created the following factsheets to help you with the benefits application, assessment and follow-up process:

  • Delays in receiving benefits (PDF, 52 KB) - this factsheet explains the options that may be available to you whilst you're waiting for your first payment.
  • Mandatory reconsiderations (PDF, 48 KB)  - this factsheet explains what to do if you wish to challenge a benefit decision.
  • Reasonable adjustments (PDF, 425 KB) - this factsheet explains what changes should be made by the Job Centre and DWP for people with a learning disability who are looking to claim benefits.
  • What happens next (PDF, 367 KB) - this factsheet sets out what should happen after your Care Act assessment.
  • Reviews and new assessments (PDF, 219 KB) - this factsheet is for people who already receive care and support through a package of social care and what they can expect from the review and assessment process.

How to get the support you need

Contact the Learning Disability Helpline, our advice and support line, for guidance and information about what support we can offer you.

Or why not take a look at FamilyHub? This is our online community for parents and family carers of people with a learning disability, and is a place for sharing experiences, advice and support.

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